VIOLENCE ROCKS KOGI TOWNS OVER LAND DISPUTE
ONE person has been declared missing and several people, including traditional rulers, injured following alleged ambush on Tuesday and retaliation yesterday over land dispute involving two communities in Yagba-West Local Council of Kogi State.
The bone of contention is the over 20-year-old disputed boundary between Egbe, the commercial nerve centre of Yagba-West and neigbouring Okoloke/Okunran/Isanlu Esa villages.
Tuesday's attack on the one hand, was said to have been carried out by the villagers who ambushed and injured chiefs from Egbe, while youths from the latter retaliated yesterday, literally sacking one of the rival villages, Okunran.
Fresh hostilities were said to have erupted at about 11.00 a.m. on Tuesday following what a source from Okoloke described as unwarranted invasion of their land by people he referred to as impostors from Egbe.
The source, who preferred anonymity, said news filtered into the three villages on Monday night that Egbe people had planned to invade their land on Tuesday morning and they quickly mobilised to ward off any such invasion, with the exception of long time ally, Isanlu-Esa, which sympathised with Egbe.
The villagers were said to have descended on the unsuspecting visitors on their way back from Okoloke with matchets, charms and other dangerous weapons freely used.
The traditional chiefs on the delegation were not spared as the vehicles, which conveyed them, were smashed and impounded. They were then made to trek the 23-kilometre road back to Egbe.
In the melee, one of the victims whose name was given simply as Tunbosun, has since been declared missing.
'Meanwhile as soon as the victims arrived back to Egbe town, they narrated their ordeals to their people and angry youths elected to retaliate', began a source, adding: 'They first converged on the centre of the town by the town hall where they marched in their hundreds to the quiet Okunran neighbouring village at about 12 noon yesterday, destroying houses and literally sacking Okunran community. The town was deserted.
But attempts by rampaging Egbe youths to proceed to Okoloke were, however, halted by gun-shots fired by Okoloke youths. The crisis is likely to continue today as Egbe youths only retreated to fortify themselves against the gun attacks.